Good work at the NSW Food Forum
There was good work at the NSW Food Forum which I and Patricia Forsyth chaired last week and which was taken seriously by Premier Keneally, her Deputy Premier and Health Minister Carmel Tebbutt and her Agriculture Minister Steve Whan. Most discussion focused on the need to put a calorie count on the menus of quick service restaurants (we’re talking chain restaurants – restaurants that are part of a group of 20 or more).
McDonalds was able to point to some impressive advances in the formulation of the food they serve. A lot of manufactures have reduced the salt intake of bread, pasta, chips, biscuits. Good. My argument is this: US law mandates calorie counts on chain restaurant menus from next year and Victoria under Premier John Brumby has announced it is going ahead the year after no matter what the rest of Australia decides to do in response to the Blewett review on food labelling due to report later this year. To McDonalds and the others I say this is inevitable, and give yourself a tick by moving in advance of changes in the law which are certainly going to come.
It’s about information and choice for consumers in the context of the obesity epidemic.
See my articles in the Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/the-need-for-fastfood-reform-20100818-128w8.html